Discovering My Audience: A Personal Journey Through Beachcombing

sea glass collected on beach

I took a stroll along a local beach this morning, relaxing in the early sunshine following one of my all-time favourite ways to relax. Beachcombing.

As I wander along the edge where water meets land, my eyes scan the shore, not for shells or pebbles but for the elusive glimmer of sea glass. This relaxing hobby of mine, combing beaches for these frosted jewels, has unfolded unexpected parallels to my journey in finding and connecting with my ideal audience for my business.

In this post, I share:

  • What beachcombing for glass has taught me about finding my ideal target audience of fashion subject experts who want to create and sell their own online courses and coaching programs.
  • Tips on strategies to find your ideal audience and how to use high-tide events to promote your courses and coaching programs.


The Search Begins

My fascination with sea glass started on a whim.

Drawn by the allure of their smooth, polished surfaces and the mystery of their origins, I soon sought them out along local beaches known only to those who shared my interest.

Each piece, a fragment of history, tumbled by the sea into something beautiful and unique. 

Much like the initial stages of building my brand We Teach Fashion, this pursuit was fueled by curiosity and a desire for something more.

Finding and connecting with your ideal audience as an online course creator or coach can often feel like searching for sea glass on a vast beach.

Just as beachcombers walk along the shore, eyes peeled for the glint of polished glass amidst pebbles and sand; marketers must navigate the expansive digital landscape to discover their perfect customer.

Much like the search for sea glass, this journey requires patience, strategy, and an understanding of where to look.

The Rarity of Sea Glass and Your Audience

Sea glass, those small pieces of glass polished by years of tumbling through the ocean's currents, is only found on some beaches. Various factors dictate its presence: the history of the area, the currents, and even the makeup of the beach itself.

Similarly, your ideal audience congregates in specific digital nooks and crannies shaped by their interests, needs, and habits. Just as a beachcomber learns over time which stretches of sand are likely to yield sea glass, marketers must research and understand where their audience spends time and what attracts them.

The Polishing Process: Shaping Your Message

The journey of sea glass from sharp shards to smooth gemstones is a natural metaphor for refining your marketing message. Initially, your ideas and communications may be rough around the edges. Still, your message becomes polished and resonant through repeated interactions, feedback, and adjustments.

This process is crucial in marketing, as it ensures that when your message reaches your audience, it's clear, appealing, and impactful—much like how a piece of sea glass stands out amongst ordinary rocks.

Timing and Tides: Seizing the Moment

Just as the best time to find sea glass is often after a high tide or a storm, when the sea has churned up the depths and deposited new treasures on the shore, there are optimal moments to reach your audience.

Launching a campaign or outreach effort can be significantly more effective when timed with your industry's "high tides"—a seasonal peak, after a significant event, or during heightened customer activity.

Understanding these cycles in your market is akin to knowing when to walk the beach for the best chance of discovering sea glass.

The Uniqueness of Each Piece: Personalizing Your Approach

Every piece of sea glass is unique in its shape, colour, and texture, much like each member of your audience has individual preferences, pain points, and desires. Just as a beachcomber might treasure a rare blue piece of glass over more familiar green and brown pieces, marketers should value the uniqueness of their audience members.

Personalizing your approach, tailoring content, and engaging with individuals based on their interests and behaviours can make your message more compelling and memorable.


The quest for sea glass on the world's shorelines offers a beautiful analogy for finding and engaging your ideal audience in the vast sea of the market. Both endeavours require patience, understanding, and a strategic approach to where and how to look.

By taking lessons from the art of beachcombing, you can refine your marketing efforts to find your audience amidst the digital sands and connect with them meaningfully and effectively. Just as every piece of sea glass has its story, shaped by the sea over time, your audience has stories you can resonate with through careful, personalized marketing strategies.


What Specific Strategies Can Online Course Creators Use To Find Their Ideal Audience?

Online course creators face the unique challenge of developing compelling and informative content and ensuring that it reaches the right audience.

Identifying and connecting with your ideal audience requires a blend of creativity, strategy, and persistence. Here are specific strategies online course creators can use to find and engage their target learners:

1. Define Your Audience

  • Conduct Market Research: Start with a deep dive into who your course is for. Use surveys, interviews, and social media engagement to gather data on potential learners' challenges, interests, and learning preferences.
  • Create Buyer Personas: Develop detailed profiles of your ideal customers. Include demographic information, professional backgrounds, learning goals, and any challenges they face that your course addresses.

2. Optimize for Search Engines

  • SEO Practices: Use keyword research tools to find what potential students are searching for related to your course topic. Optimize your course landing page, blog posts, and online content with these keywords to improve visibility.
  • Content Marketing: Create valuable content (blog posts, infographics, videos) that addresses your target audience's questions and concerns. This boosts SEO and establishes your authority in the subject matter.

3. Leverage Social Media

  • Identify the Right Platforms: Determine where your target audience spends their time. LinkedIn might be more appropriate for professional development courses. At the same time, Instagram or TikTok could be better for creative or lifestyle topics.
  • Engage Actively: Don't just post about your course. Engage with your audience through comments, live videos, and participating in relevant groups or forums.

4. Utilize Email Marketing

  • Build an Email List: Offer a freebie related to your course content (e.g., an ebook, webinar, or mini-course) in exchange for email sign-ups. This builds a list of interested potential customers.
  • Segment Your List: Tailor your communication based on where potential students are in the buying journey. Use personalized email sequences to guide them from awareness to purchase.

5. Partner with Influencers or Industry Experts

  • Collaborate on Content: Partner with influencers or experts in your field to co-create content. This can introduce your course to a broader, yet still targeted, audience.

  • Guest Appearances: Appear as a guest on podcasts, webinars, or YouTube channels your ideal learners follow.

6. Run Targeted Ads

  • Social Media Ads: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn offer advanced targeting options to reach specific demographics, interests, and behaviours.
  • Retargeting Campaigns: Use retargeting ads to re-engage visitors who've shown interest in your course but have yet to purchase.

7. Offer a Free Trial or Sample

  • Tease the Content: Provide a free module or a sample lesson to give potential students a taste of your course. This can help in decision-making.
  • Use Limited-Time Offers: Encourage sign-ups by offering limited-time access to specific resources or discounts for early enrollment.

8. Collect and Showcase Testimonials

  • Social Proof: Share testimonials and success stories from past students to build credibility and trust with prospective learners.
  • Utilize Reviews: Encourage satisfied students to leave reviews on your course platform or website. Positive reviews can significantly influence decision-making.

9. Attend and Speak at Industry Events

  • Networking Opportunities: Use conferences, workshops, and seminars to connect with potential students and peers. Speaking at these events can position you as an authority in your field.
  • Online Webinars: Host or participate in webinars that cater to your target audience's interests and needs.


How Online Course Creators and Coaches Effectively Tailor Their Message

Online course creators and coaches often operate with limited budgets, making it essential to find cost-effective ways to tailor their messaging to different individuals' interests and behaviours. Personalization only sometimes requires expensive tools or technologies. Here are several strategies that can help you connect with your audience on a more personal level without breaking the bank:

  • Use Social Media Insights - Most social media platforms provide free analytics that can give you a deep dive into your followers' demographics, interests, and engagement behaviours. Use this data to understand what content resonates with your audience and tailor your messages accordingly.
  • Segment Your Email ListEmail marketing platforms like Mailchimp offer free or low-cost plans with segmentation features. By categorizing your subscribers based on their actions (e.g., course sign-ups, downloads, engagement with previous emails), you can send more targeted, relevant content that speaks to their interests and needs.
  • Leverage Surveys and FeedbackSimple surveys using free tools like Google Forms or SurveyMonkey can provide invaluable insights into what your audience is looking for. Regularly ask for feedback and use this information to segment your audience and customize your messaging. Offering a small incentive for completing surveys can increase participation rates.
  • Create Buyer PersonasDevelop buyer personas that represent your ideal students or clients based on your research and data collected. Tailor your messaging to address each persona's specific concerns, goals, and interests. This approach helps craft more relevant and engaging content, even if it's being sent out to a broader audience. 
  • Engage on Social MediaDirect engagement with followers on social media is a powerful, cost-effective way to personalize your message. Responding to comments and messages and participating in relevant groups or forums lets you understand and address individual interests and concerns directly. 
  • Utilize Content PersonalisationUsing simple plugins or CMS features, you can personalize content on your website or blog for returning visitors. For example, showing different content based on what a visitor has viewed previously on your site can make your messaging feel more tailored and relevant to their interests. 
  • Offer Personalized Learning PathsFor course creators, providing options for learners to choose their path through your content can offer a form of personalization. By allowing students to select topics of interest or skip content they're already familiar with, you can create a more personalized learning experience. 
  • Utilize Behavioral TriggersImplement basic automation in your email marketing to send messages triggered by specific behaviours, such as signing up for a course, downloading a resource, or abandoning a cart. This can be done with most email marketing platforms and allows you to send timely, relevant messages based on individual actions. 
  • Create Interactive ContentInteractive content like quizzes or assessments can offer personalized insights or recommendations based on the user's inputs. This engages your audience and provides you with data on their preferences and interests, which can inform further personalization efforts.
  • Monitor and AdaptUse free analytics tools like Google Analytics to monitor how different audience segments interact with your website and content. Adapt your strategy based on what's working, continually refining your approach to personalization based on actual data.

 By implementing these strategies, online course creators and coaches can effectively tailor their messaging to different individuals based on their interests and behaviours, enhancing engagement and conversion rates without relying on expensive technologies or tools.


Examples of High Tides or Significant Events to Time Your Outreach Efforts

Timing outreach efforts with "high tides" or significant events in various industries can significantly enhance the effectiveness of marketing strategies for online course creators and coaches. These moments represent periods of heightened interest, activity, or need within a target audience, providing an opportune time to engage potential customers.

For the fashion and fashion education sectors, "high tide" events are times when interest, engagement, and opportunities in the fashion industry peak.

These events offer strategic timing for launching new courses, workshops, or marketing campaigns.

Here are some examples:


Fashion Weeks

  • Global Fashion Weeks: Timing your outreach around the primary fashion weeks (New York, London, Milan, Paris) can be highly effective. These events typically happen twice a year (February/March for fall/winter collections and September/October for spring/summer collections) and generate a lot of buzz, interest in current trends, and inspiration for fashion enthusiasts and professionals alike.

Seasonal Changes

  • Seasonal Wardrobe Shifts: Just before the change of seasons, people look to update their wardrobes. Offering courses on seasonal fashion trends, wardrobe planning, or sustainable fashion practices during these times can attract much interest.

Holiday Seasons

  • Pre-Holiday and Festive Seasons: The weeks leading up to major holidays and end-of-year festivities show a surge in fashion interest for holiday parties and gift-giving. It's prime time for courses on styling, DIY fashion projects, or fashion gift guides.

Industry Trade Shows and Expos

  • Fashion Trade Shows: Aligning with significant fashion trade shows and expos can be an excellent opportunity to launch courses that cater to fashion entrepreneurs, designers, and retailers looking to expand their knowledge and networks.

Back to School

  • Late Summer: This period can be significant for fashion education, especially for courses targeting young adults and teens interested in developing their style or exploring fashion as a career path.

New Technology and Sustainability Movements

  • Sustainability and Ethical Fashion Events: With growing interest in sustainable and ethical fashion, timing courses around Earth Day or other sustainability-focused events can draw attention.
  • Tech Innovations in Fashion: Launching courses on digital fashion design, 3D printing, or wearable technology around times when tech expos or innovation summits take place can also be strategic.

Awards Season

  • Red Carpet Events: The period of major awards shows (e.g., Oscars, Golden Globes) when red carpet looks dominate social media and fashion discussions can be an excellent time for courses on celebrity styling, fashion analysis, or even creating your red carpet looks.

Fashion Anniversaries and Historical Milestones

  • Milestone Anniversaries: Significant anniversaries of iconic fashion brands, designers, or historical fashion moments can offer unique opportunities for themed courses or retrospectives on fashion history and its impact on current trends.

Online Shopping Events

  • Cyber Monday and Black Friday are peak times for online shopping, including fashion items. Offering courses on e-commerce for fashion entrepreneurs or how to style and photograph fashion items for online sales can be well-timed with these shopping events.

By aligning educational content and marketing efforts with these high-tide events in the fashion and fashion education sectors, course creators and coaches can maximize their visibility, engage effectively with their target audience, and leverage the natural cycles of interest and enthusiasm in the fashion industry.



Finding your ideal audience as an online course creator involves a mix of strategic planning, content creation, and engagement across multiple channels. By understanding your audience deeply, providing valuable and relevant content, and leveraging the right platforms and strategies, you can attract and retain students who will benefit most from your courses. Remember, the key is consistency and always seeking feedback to refine and improve your approach.

No matter where you are on your journey to monetise your fashion subject expertise online, we are here to help.

Contact us for a free 30-minute strategy call.

Post written by Cheryl Gregory 


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